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Cup Spy Jan 06 : INEOS Britannia has first flight in 2023

by Richard Gladwell/ 6 Jan 13:47 PST 7 January 2023
INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - January 6, 2023 - Badia de Palma - Mallorca © Ugo Fonolla / America's Cup

INEOS Britannia - LEQ12 - Mallorca - January 6, 2022

INEOS Britannia became the second America's Cup team to sail in 2023.

Top international sailing journalist, Justin Chisholm, is a member of the AC37 Recon Team assigned to monitor and report on INEOS Britannia. He reports:

The British team’s first sailing day of 2023 got off to an inauspicious start when shortly after the mainsail hoist there was a loud bang on board the boat as the sail fell off the halliard lock. It took three climbs of the mast and some. Feverish work on deck to get the issue fixed after around two hours.

Happily that was the end of any obvious issues for the team and with the breeze kicking up to 12 knots from the south west the British LEQ12 was soon up and foiling much more steadily than we have observed previously.

Onboard were Giles Scott (port helmsman), Leigh McMillan (starboard helmsman) along with trimmers/flight controllers Luke Parkinson and Iain Jensen.

The team made around 10 foiling runs during the day with estimated take off speeds were in the 12 - 16 knot range and the top speed downwind was estimated to be 35 knots plus.

Having lost time early in the day with the halliard issue the crew were keen to milk as much from the day as possible and stayed out until dusk.

They finished the day with a spectacular fully foiling blast along the Palma city front to the mouth of the harbour to round out more than 40 miles of sailing the length and breadth of Palma Bay.

No word yet on whether the team will sail again tomorrow (Saturday January 7) but Sunday’s forecast is for very strong winds.

Multihull sailor Leigh McMillan had his first time on the helm today, and was in the starboard helming spot.

"We had a bit of an issue with the main halyard on the first hoist and sent someone up the rig, the issue took quite a while to sort it out. Were a bit nervous about losing the day at that point. But the guys did a great job getting it sorted and got the sail in the on the lock. And thankfully, the wind held off for us. So it's turned out to be a really nice day."

McMillan says they are still debugging the boat, and "just making sure everything's as it should be. I'm letting it go a little bit more, the shackles are coming off. We are starting to get, good time on the boat, which is nice."

"It's a matter of building confidence that it is all is working, how it should be."

The British covered 40-45nm on foils around the Baie de Palma.The sea state was described as "flat" in the morning and a "slight chop" in the afternoon.

"Today was my first day with sails up on the boat. It's nice to get behind that the which way wheel and give it a bit of a push. It was good. The boat felt really nice."

"Top speeds were in the mid to high 30s, on one of the down winds," says McMillan. "But again, it wasn't a huge amount of breeze and it got a little bit patchy along the coast. A little bit further offshore is a bit wavy so we're just finding that that middle ground.

"It was a really positive day for everyone. And it was good to be out there," he concluded.

Session Statistics - Mallorca - January 6, 2023 - INEOS Britannia - LEQ12

  • Wind Strength 0-3kts(AM) 5-12kts (PM)
  • Wind Direction: SW(AM) SW (PM)
  • Roll out: 0940hrs Dock Out: 1321hrs
  • Dock In: 1745hrs Crane out: 1800hrs
  • Total Tacks: 3 - Fully foiling: 0; Touch & Go: 0; Touch Down: 3
  • Total Gybes: 3 - Fully foiling: 1; Touch & Go: 2; Touch Down: 0

Crew: Giles Scott, Leigh McMillan, Luke Parkinson, Iain Jensen

This commentary was written and compiled from video, still images and statistical content extracted from the AC37 Joint Recon program and other material available to Sail-World NZ including photo files, and other on the water coverage from the 2010, 2013, 2017 and 2021 America's Cups.

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